Unprecedented demand for flu vax, says Minister
Influenza vaccination statistics were one of the first things the reappointed Health Minister turned his attention to, applauding the rate at which Australians are being immunised but also updating the nation on supply concerns.
Australia is on track for a record number of flu vaccinations in 2019 with an additional 400,000 flu vaccines to be brought into Australia over the coming weeks to meet unprecedented demand.
Already, more than 12.1 million flu vaccines have been released into the market including 7.5 million for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and State and Territory vaccination programs and 4.6 million doses for the private market.
Supplies for the NIP and State and Territory government programs are currently secure, the Minister said, however there has been unprecedented demand for flu vaccines in the private market.
“I have been working with vaccines companies to ensure that there is sufficient supply in the private market,” he said.
“World leading medicine and vaccine company Sanofi will bring a further 400,000 FluQuadri® vaccines to Australia which will be made available through general practice and community pharmacy.
“This will take the overall number of flu vaccines available in Australia this year to over 12.5 million an increase from 11 million in 2018.
“Vaccination is the most effective way to protect individuals and the broader community from the flu. It’s important to get vaccinated against influenza every year, as the virus changes year to year.”
Those eligible for a free flu vaccine through the NIP include people aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older and people aged sixth months or older with certain medical conditions which put them at risk of severe influenza.
“Pregnant women are also eligible for a free flu vaccine – it’s safe to receive at any stage of pregnancy to protect both mother and baby,” Mr Hunt said.
“Immunisation is critical to maintaining public health and preventing the outbreak of infectious diseases.”
For more information visit the Department of Health immunisation website at: www.health.gov.au/immunisation
Published: 31 May 2019